Finalists selected for NK Community Champion Awards

Over 30 finalists have been selected across 12 categories for the 2020 Community Champion Awards as North Kesteven’s communities continue to go above and beyond to help one another.

Almost 100 nominations were put forward before being whittled down to 31 by a panel representing the community-minded businesses that sponsor the awards, which are organised by North Kesteven District Council.

Nominations included people making hand sanitiser, face shields and NHS scrubs and rallying community responses to the coronavirus crisis.

Two new ‘pop-up’ categories have been added to this year’s event in recognition of local responses to the pandemic.

The Lincolnite is among the sponsors for this year’s event, which has transferred to an online format and will be held virtually on October 7 – summaries of there work of the finalists can be seen here, where nominations for the 2021 awards can also be made.

North Kesteven District Council leader Richard Wright said: “I never cease to be amazed by the amount of wonderful voluntary work undertaken quietly, tirelessly, continually and unassumingly by so many, but this year the people, communities and businesses of North Kesteven have surpassed themselves.”

The shortlist was whittled down to 31 by a panel representing the community-minded businesses that sponsor the awards.

The finalists

Community Spirit

Andy Mellett Brown, Heckington – he advanced the village magazine and masterminded a twice weekly community radio station and local food bank in response to the coronavirus pandemic. He also led a team of volunteers to help villagers.

Jason Snape, Witham St Hughs – he spearheaded play park renovations to save around £20,000 of public expenditure, as well as organising and rethinking VE Day celebrations. He set up a coronavirus response group and supported surrounding villages with this

Ruth Sheeran, Skellingthorpe – she organised a walk to raise money for pancreatic cancer, a pop-up tea room in aid of St Barnabas, collected for a cause that enables dream weddings for people close to life’s end, and took hot drinks and home baked treats to Lincoln’s homeless despite her own health challenges

Community Spirit – Coronavirus response group

Martin and Timberland Emergency Support – under the leadership of Lindsay Gresham Fulton, 40-plus volunteers assisted the two villages with vital food and medical deliveries, phone calls for the isolating and the collection of food and household items for onward donation, as well as assisting neighbouring villages

Holdingham Helpers – the group formed by Robert Oates quickly grew to in excess of 40 volunteers, collecting and delivering shopping and medicines, as well as making calls and checking on the welfare of over 100 isolating individuals. The group plans to provide ongoing support for the Sleaford community

Ruskington COVID-19  Volunteers – up to 200 volunteers rallied to Zoe Ireland’s call to support those who were isolating at home, with routes to ensure the entire village of 6,000 people was covered with the supply of groceries and prescriptions, pet care, letter posting and speaking with them

Community Spirt – Individual coronavirus response

Dale Hardy, North Hykeham – the headteacher at Sir Robert Pattinson Academy pioneered a response that supplied 4,000 faec shields to hospitals, police, care homes, GPs and pharmacies. The school kitchen provided meals to the over 70s, which were delivered by the school minibus

Tracey Richardson, Osbournby – she galvanised residents into activities by sharing much sought-after flour for a baking challenge, crafting aeroplane model kits and creating ‘Where’s Wenda?’ and VE Day bunting-making challenges to inspire community cohesion

Zoe Ireland, Ruskington – she rallied volunteers and co-ordinated Ruskington’s response and has been available 24/7 in case of emergencies throughout the lockdown. Having united volunteers as a solid group, she is now planning a big party for once it is all over to maintain the sense of togetherness and support created within the village

Good Neighbour

Alan Germon, North Hykeham  – described as ‘worth more than a bar of gold’, Alan’s neighbourly response included planting wildflowers, changing lightbulbs, hammering in nails, offering envelopes, electrical advice and resolving any dilemma. He also made daily trips to help a stranded devout nun to attend Mass every day for a month

Janice Batchelor, Ruskington – she supported her neighbour through a self-declared ‘dark period’ despite her own personal problems during lockdown. Janice’s weekly shopping, prescription collection, dog walking and general cheerful disposition helped to support her clinically vulnerable neighbours

Lizzy Truman, Great Hale – on the first night of lockdown, Lizzy dropped a note round to everyone’s house which led to her shopping, cutting lawn, walking dogs and generally caring for all the elderly close by. She’s described as a ‘real angel’

Contribution to a Better Environment

Carol Hubbard, Ruskington – Carol is reckoned to have personally removed a skip’s worth of rubbish locally and is out in all weathers armed with a litter picker and black bags. She has lobbied supermarkets about plastic packaging and offers lifts to people to ensure the most environmentally efficient outcomes

Nancy Baker, North Hykeham – Nancy, aged 10, has patrolled parts of North Hykeham with a litter picker for a couple of years. She posts on Twitter as No Litter Nancy to raise awareness of the problem and has made little videos about litter and climate change

Tomas Dickson, North Hykeham – Tomas carries out litter picking throughout North and South Hykeham, as well as testing water quality. He is also active with River Witham Rivercare groups, Freshwater Watch, Hykeham in Bloom, Sleaford Navigation Trust and Lincolnshire Wildlife and Rivers trusts

Contribution to Arts & Culture

Lee Rooke, Sleaford – the organist and director of music at St Denys’ Church assembled a virtual choir in response to lockdown and compiled a four-part accompaniment to the vicar’s YouTube services. He contributes to the weekly service and arranges special and spectacular events

Mrs Smith’s Cottage Volunteers, Navenby – the 12 dedicated volunteers were critical in the restoration and reopening of the historic cottage as a museum. They invested around 500 hours from January to August and continued their work through front of house, events, earning, archiving, gardening and other essential functions

North Disney History & Archaeology Group – the group researched, unearthed and exhibited aspects of the locality’s important Iron Age and Roman archaeology, as well as uncovering previously undiscovered information about the area

Contribution to Community Safety

Andy Marchant, Branston – Andy pioneered the village’s established Emergency Plan group and initiatives of broader crime-busting community safety. After being stranded abroad when lockdown began, he made it home to instigate the village’s coronavirus response from quarantine.Volunteer numbers soared over 300 and a food bank was also set up

Contribution to Health & Wellbeing

Food Voucher Scheme, Branston – five villagers came together three years ago to address a social issue affecting vulnerable school children to ensure they were well-fed in school holidays. Through tireless fundraising they were able to support 43 children initially, growing to 53 and extending to summer, Easter, Christmas and half-term holidays

Karen Melville, Helpringham – aligned with a national drive to provide essential supplies into the NHS for coronavirus care, Karen co-ordinated the North Kesteven response to the ‘For the Love of Scrubs’ initiative. Scores of local sewers made PPE from donated or self-sourced fabric

Rainbow Stars, Sleaford – the five-year-old group was set up as a support group primarily for parents and carers of children with autism, Aspergers Syndrome and ADHD.  It recently expanded its offer with an open-to-all hub, helping 1,500 families. The support network offered food parcels and even Father’s Day presents during lockdown, on top of the regular trips, courses, meetings and playdates

Contribution to Sport

Angela Pettit, Bracebridge Heath – Angela has been involved in all aspects of swimming, life-saving, teaching, examining and organising for 45 years. Forty of those years have been with the Lincoln Asthma Swimming Group which she set up. She also organises the weekly Saturday group sessions for the Royal Life Saving Society for which she is branch chair

Graham Park, Heckington – inspiring young players and new coaches through Sleaford Town Juniors FC for more than 12 years. He set up the Mini Greens for four to five year olds and a Coaches for Tomorrow programme to motivate teenagers. Now with another club, he continues to offer help and advice

Samantha Elmsley, Sleaford – gymnastics coach Sammi hasn’t let lockdown get in the way of her passion to support young gymnasts, lending equipment to use at home, giving free online Zoom coaching twice weekly, and even devoting entire weekends to get them to far away competitions

Community Business

Green Stores, Bassingham – store owners Tracey and Michael were at the heart of the village’s coronavirus response, making sure everyone is well provided for. This include setting up free home deliveries and a new payment system, extending opening hours, running the Post Office seven days a week and offering encouragement to locals

Manor Farm Shop, Leasingham –  the shop has excelled under Gill and Debbie Burton’s leadership to provide food for the village and beyond. It has also worked with the village pub on hot meal delivery.

Salted Orange, North Hykeham – company owner Sam Owen used his onsite distillery to make hand sensitiser given freely to schools, care homes and healthcare settings. He distilled gin in support of AgeUK and set up a a hot meal delivery of three daily meals, seven days a week for £20 to anyone over 65, which catered for 110,000 people in the first 87 days

Longstanding Contribution to a Group or Organisation

Andrew Ingham, Heckington – over 14 years from case worker to regional representative, Andy has made a fundamental difference to the outcomes and financial fortunes of veterans as a member of the Armed Forces charity SSAFA. He has continued as a case worker throughout, raising £111,000 to meet the needs of 120 clients

Angela Pettit, Bracebridge Heath – also nominated for Contribution to Sport (see above)

Delphine Norton, Ruskington – she has been involved in the support of scouting for 29 years as a scout leader in Holland, Germany, Wales and locally running both Ruskington’s cubs and beavers packs and train future junior leaders.

Young Achiever

George Woodward, North Hykeham – after joining LIVES as a fundraiser a year ago, George marked his 18th birthday with his first responder’s shift. While furloughed from his job as a lifeguard, he invested his time logging 12 hour daily shifts and assisted more than 100 people, responding to medical emergencies and paying his own petrol costs to do so

Nancy Baker, North Hykeham – also nominated for Contribution to a Better Environment (see above)

Tomas Dickson, North Hykeham – also nominated for  Contribution to a Better Environment (see above)

The awards are only made possible thanks to the generosity of these community-minded businesses: Duncan & Toplis; GLL/BETTER; Lincs Inspire; Branston Ltd; Lindum Group; Ringrose Law; Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant; the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire; Your Local Lincs Magazine; Washingborough Hall Hotel and the support of the Sleaford Standard, The Lincolnite, BBC Radio Lincolnshire and Peachy Events.

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